Nottinghamshire scored 169 on the first day of their LV= County Championship match against Lancashire at Old Trafford, with the home side responding with a score of 48-1 by stumps.
Chris Read’s poor run at the toss ended, but his decision to bat first meant that the Notts’ openers would have to face the difficult early overs for the fifth game in a row.
“With Swanny and Samit in the side it would clearly be an advantage to bowl last when the wicket is at its most tired but for the most part we found it hard graft out there.” Chris Read
“I thought it looked a reasonable surface,” explained the skipper. “It was a little bit soft but there was much less moisture in it than some of the other wickets we’ve played on so far.
“With Swanny and Samit in the side it would clearly be an advantage to bowl last when the wicket is at its most tired but for the most part we found it hard graft out there.”
The captain made fourteen with the bat and got out at a crucial time. “It was short and wide but I cut it back onto my stumps. It was particularly disappointing because I was battling hard to build a partnership with Samit and if we could have stayed together for another 10 or 20 overs then I believe we could have really developed something.”
Patel stayed for more than four hours in all, scoring 69, his highest innings of the summer so far.
The Notts side showed three changes from the team that played against Worcestershire last week, with England’s Graeme Swann and Stuart Broad making their first county appearance of the summer and Paul Franks also came back into the side, to make his 200th first class appearance.
Former Lancs player Steven Mullaney, Luke Fletcher and Harry Gurney were the three to make way.
The start of the match created its own piece of Old Trafford history, being the first Championship fixture to be played with the square facing north to south after undergoing a 90 degrees rotation.
Jimmy Anderson, also preparing for a summer of international cricket, began the proceedings with a maiden to Alex Hales.
Survival, let alone run-scoring, looked difficult from the off and Notts were soon in trouble, losing three wickets inside the first hour of play.
Glenn Chapple, the Lancs skipper, collected them all, as his first spell brought figures of 8-3-16-3.
Neil Edwards (4) was the first to depart, unluckily playing on as he attempted to leave the ball alone.
Hales (9) looked aghast as umpire Rob Bailey gave an lbw decision against him, the batsman looking to clip through midwicket.
Michael Lumb (3) pushed hard at one and saw it fly to Anderson in the gully. The ball ricocheted from the heel of his hands to fall obligingly to Prince at third slip.
It could have been worse for Notts as Patel survived a very confident leg before appeal against Anderson but he and James Taylor survived through to lunch with the score on 50-3.
Immediately afterwards Taylor (15), edged Chapple to slip before the stand between Read and Patel took Notts on to 83-5.
Franks helped boost the total up to ‘Nelson’ at which point two wickets fell from consecutive deliveries.
Both Franks (11) and Broad (0) went to bat/pad catches, taken by Steven Croft from the bowling of Simon Kerrigan.
The latter wicket was only confirmed after a long deliberation between the umpires, with the England all-rounder clearly unhappy at the verdict.
Graeme Swann (5) also went to the spin of Kerrigan, who finished with 4-45 after having last man Andre Adams (9) stumped.
Luke Proctor had claimed the wicket of Read and then also ended Patel’s heroic knock with a catch at long on, immediately after being launched for six into the building site at the Statham End.
Ben Phillips finished on an unbeaten 19 but applause for the home side was reserved for Chapple (4-44) and Kerrigan, who compensated for the loss of Anderson and Tom Smith at various times during the day.
Anderson had to go and have an x-ray on a thumb after stopping a drive from Taylor and Smith pulled up at the start of his fourth over.
Steven Moore and Paul Horton added 48 for the home side, with Adams striking for Notts just before the close, trapping Horton lbw for 24.